THE rumpus surrounding controversial voice-to-text messaging firm SpinVox continues apace.<br /><br />After the firm recently admitted some of its messages are translated into text manually by workers outside the UK, some former customers are up in arms – and I read on a techie blog that one in particular is spearheading a drive to persuade people to submit official complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office<br /><br />“I am troubled by the implications of my personal and business communications being routinely listened in on by strangers,” grumbles our activist. “I’ve looked through a few of SpinVox’s transcriptions and some of my messages contain information that is extremely personal. Others contain professionally sensitive information…”<br /><br />SpinVox founder Christina Domecq, for her part, insists that the “vast majority” of messages are transcribed automatically and is adamant that the company is not in breach of any data protection regulations.<br /><br />But the ICO has already written to the company asking it to update the data it holds about how SpinVox processes its information, and is adamant that it will commence a full-scale investigation if it does receive any complaints.<br /><br />“It takes a few days for formal complaints to come through the system but we will certainly look into it if any are made,” a spokesman tells me. “We take our customers’ concerns very seriously…”<br /><br />Watch this space.<br /><br /><strong>FILTHY RICH</strong><br />It turns out that the swine flu pandemic, though it may be a headache for employers everywhere, is actually proving itself quite a neat little money-spinner for the insurance industry.<br /><br />I hear InsureandGo founder Perry Wilson has just netted himself a lucrative deal with The Big Gig Weekend, taking place at Somerset’s Royal Bath & West Showground on 25 – 27 September, to insure the artist line-up against contracting the pesky disease.<br /><br />Promoter Kevin Newton, a Somerset property mogul, is concerned he’ll lose out if one of the artists – who include cheesy crooners Boyzone and stunning Welsh songstress Katherine Jenkins (right) – can’t play, so he’s insured the festival to the tune of a cool £1m.<br /><br />Talk about a silver lining.<br /><br /><strong>DISAPPEARING ACT</strong><br />Has Guardian Media Group HQ turned into a mini Bermuda Triangle?<br /><br />I only ask because Capital Ideas, the first party to go public last week with its interest in buying The Observer newspaper, has encountered its fair share of problems getting a letter through to the top dogs at the group.<br /><br />Capital Ideas told The Capitalist last week it had sent a communication via recorded delivery to Derek Gannon, the chief operating officer of subsidiary Guardian News and Media. At the time, the company’s spinners denied any knowledge of having received the letter, but Capital Ideas decided to check up and found it had already been recorded as “delivered”.<br /><br />Fast forward a few days, and Capital Ideas has now written to GMG chief Carolyn McCall (who must have been pretty miffed she wasn’t the first port of call in the first place) and received a non-committal response.<br /><br />Though as GMG points out shrewdly, there was no mention of any previous letter in the missive actually received by Ms McCall… <br /><br /><strong>BIRTHDAY BOY</strong><br />Well, well, well. Sir Fred Goodwin was back ensconced in his Edinburgh mansion yesterday after returning from his self-imposed exile in France, home alone on his 51st birthday.<br /><br />The public were busy getting outraged about the fact, of course (“I see pots of paint being readied as I write,” remarked one person on Twitter, wryly). But while it may come as no surprise that a couple of enterprising chaps decided to call in on the disgraced ex-banker on his big day, what might be harder to believe was that they were bearing a colourful iced birthday cake in the hope of wishing him a sincere happy returns.<br /><br />However, the YouTube video of the stunt reveals noone answered the door to collect the tasty delight, so it was left for the crows on the doorstep.<br /><br />Given all the negative publicity The Shred has received since stepping down from Royal Bank of Scotland last year, you’d have thought he’d be only too happy to welcome in a few fans with open arms.<br /><br />Perhaps he feared the cake would be laced with arsenic?